Ask Jim Fox, part 3

The third set of questions and answers from Jim Fox, who graciously agreed to do some guest-blogging this month…

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nykingfan said:
Foxy, you are 1/2 of the best listen in television sports. Thank you!
How important was getting a guy like Smythe to play with Kopitar and how can he help him develop into the player we all think he should be?
How important was it that Quick was able to gain the confidence in his team and do you think he has what it takes to take next step forward and prove he’s a number #1 goalie?
Have you visited the wineries on Long Island? It’s worth the trip my friend!

Nykingfan:
…Thank you so much for the compliment…
…Not exactly sure if Smyth will play with Kopitar…one of the big positives with Smyth is that he can fit in with just about anyone…every line needs someone to drive to the net and few do it better than Smyth…if he does play with Kopitar, he should open up some space down low and also be there to retrieve loose puck to create second chances…
…It’s the defensive intensity that Kopitar has to learn…Smyth can help him there, but it’s one of those things that you have to figure out yourself…
…You touched on the biggest impact Quick had on the team…he made them believe that they had a chance each night…still not out of the woods yet…he will go to the US Olympic orientation camp this summer…that should bring him more confidence…all he needs is more time…still has to prove himself with continued strong play over a long period of time…he is on his way…still has a ways to go…
…Have never “done” the wineries on Long Island, but it is on my list…thanks again!

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Tornado12 said:
Jim, What is your assessment of the Kings organization as a whole (prospects, accumulation of future draft picks, current players, management, etc) at this time? Are we on the right track? What steps need to be taken to put the Kings in the ilk of the Detroits of the world?

Tornado12:
…The Kings made a decision 3 years ago to “tear it down and build it up”…they have not strayed from that plan…a couple of indications that they are ready to take the next step…they are now willing to consider acquiring more experienced players for younger players or picks because they have so many…another thing and positive sign…it appears that free agents are now considering the Kings as a place to sign (Scuderi)…Smyth waived a no trade clause to join the Kings…the next steps will be to keep developing and improving and looking to add the right pieces via trades or free agent signings…the Kings are on their way…still a ways to go, but the time is near…

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Quisp said:
1. have you retired the phrase “doing what he does best”? as in “there’s Tony Granato, doing what he does best, driving to the net” or whatever it was he did best. We used to be able to play drinking games to that phrase but now not so much…
2. quarterly, I bug Rich about archival “Ask a King” footage, specifically the one where someone wrote in to Robitaille asking him to explain the changes in Europe pre and post Versaille Treaty. And he did it, with a professor’s garb, pointer and map of Europe.
Do you remember this? Shouldn’t it be re-aired? At least posted on the site, like in “the vault.” This is such a good idea.
3. i forget number three.

Quisp:
…1…from my perspective, I think I have retired that phrase…sorry to spoil the games, but I was just trying to do what I do best…
…2…I do remember it…I’ll make a point to our produced to see if we can dust it off…
…3…I forgot what I was going to answer…
…See you at a Kings game…

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Kingboston said:
Jim-
Thanks for doing this Q+A, gracious as always. I’m from Boston and I met you at the ASG in ’02 at Fanfest and you were very kind to chat and sign my Kings puck right as your were about to hit the ice for the exhibition game vs. ’80 Olympians.
1. Have you and/or Bob been asked to do Versus games? You guys are the best kept secret in North America unless you live in LA or have Center Ice. It’s time for VS!
2. Most of us, and I imagine you being an ex-King, miss the Forum. Has it ever been discussed to play a preseason game there for fans/players nostalgia sake?
THANKS #19!

Kingboston:
…Glad you had a chance to come out to the ASG festivities…I had a great time playing against the Olympic boys…in all honesty, it was a huge thrill and honor to skate with them…great bunch of guys…
…1…I have never been asked to do a Versus game…not sure about Bob…thanks so much for the support…Bob used to do many “national games on TV and radio…I have had the opportunity on NHL radio the last 4 or 5 years…I also get a chance to cover the NHL and hockey in general for Yahoo Sports, so I keep busy enough, but thanks again for the compliments…
…2…wow, great idea…if you haven’t already done so, I’ll make sure I pass this along…sounds like a great opportunity to celebrate the past!!!
…Thanks again for the kind words and the support…

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BakoCAcameraGuy said:
Jim,
What are your thoughts about the salary cap, in general throughout the league? Much of the discussion lately on this blog has been about how the Kings have positioned themselves well with cap space. Do you agree with that, and do you think that other teams are going to have to give up real talent this year and next in order to come in under the cap (like PHI and CHI)?
And, on a related league-wide topic, do you think Phoenix can survive as a viable NHL franchise?
Did you like the Rink-level camera angles the Kings experimented with last year? Personally, I like the close in camera demonstrating the speed and power of the game up close. Will the Kings try again this coming year, with something similar?
What is your greatest frustration about hockey in Southern California? Are there things about SoCal hockey fans that you think we could do better to represent the Kings?
Do you think there will a SoCal version of the New Years’ Day Winter Classic? If so, would the Kings be in it, and who would they play? And, where would YOU prefer to stage the game?

BakoCAcameraGuy
…I think the cap was a necessity…I wish it hadn’t taken a work stoppage to get it but I think it is better for the game as a whole…
…. The Kings are well positioned…the difficult thing about the cap is that it is an estimate and it is based on the previous years numbers…most people feel that there will be a drop for the 10-11 season…the NHL Board of Governors actually had some “economic advisors” attend a meeting last year to try and plan ahead…but as I said the Kings are well positioned…the goal is to be able to sign your core guys when they get a few years in the league and they get more options, as well as sign the “timely” free agent…
…We have just hit the stage where some teams are making deals to get rid of salary to stay under the cap…that will continue for a while, but it looks like most teams are looking and planning ahead more than they did 2 and 3 years ago…
…I think the low angles present a different aspect (as you mentioned the speed and quickness)…it is a very personal thing…just like music…some like certain songs, some don’t…the biggest criticism on hockey on TV is that it is difficult to see the “plays forming” and to follow the puck…if that is the case then the “Rink Level” angles make it even more difficult…I do think it was worth a try and I assume we will have an odd game or so like that, but I don’t think it was well received by most people…
…It’s up to the Kings to give them some positive results…when that happens, it will be great…I remember Adam Deadmarsh’s OT goal vs. Detroit to win a series in 6 at STAPLES Center…that was the loudest I have ever heard a crowd…more of that is what we need…
…I mentioned last year that I was planning for the 2020 or so outdoor game to be played in SoCal…I picked the pier at Manhattan Beach…kind of a stretch, but I do believe that there eventually will be an outdoor game in SoCal with the Kings involved…or course the current games came about to celebrate the “outdoor roots” aspect of the game…seems far-fetched now, but I honestly believe their will be a game in SoCal…

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Bob Bobson said:
Hey Foxy ! Thanks for doing this.
1) What is your All-time Kings team (12 F, 6 D and 2 G) ?
2) Kelly Hrudey was my favorite player on the Kings and now he does work for CBC. Did you give him any tips ? What was he like in the locker room ?
3) Do you look down on people that go for BevMo’s buy one wine, buy another wine for five cents deals ?
4) What dessert wine would you recommend for under $20 ?
5) When Marty McSorley had the stick swinging incident, did you think in the back of your mind that it was only a matter of time for him to do something like that ?
6) Best story about you playing days you can tell on this blog ?

Bob Bobson:
…I’m just going to throw out some names…I know I will not have enough players from the 60′s and 70′s…but here goes with my “favorites”:
…Vachon…Potvin…
…L. Murphy, Blake, Hardy, Wells, Zhitnik, Duchesne
…Gretzky, Dionne, Nicholls, Robitaille, Taylor, Simmer, Goring, Sandstrom, M. Murphy, Laperriere, Palffy, Kurri
…I guess I screwed up with the goalie picks…Kelly is one of the most intelligent players to ever play…I had many great conversations with him…he has always been a deep thinker and a great communicator…I absolutely loved talking with him…
…Great deal…tough to beat as far as value for an everyday wine…I prefer to support a local shop (Manhattan Fine Wines…Artesia/PCH)…great service and great selection…
…The most consistent I have found at that price is “Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port”…give it a try…
…Marty has always lived on the edge…I know it didn’t end up good, but I know what Marty was trying to do…he was trying to get Brashear’s attention to get into a fight…it was reckless and dangerous and had a very serious result and Marty paid a huge price…
…So many great times…the story that had the biggest impact on me was playing in the 1986 World Championships for Canada…we had more than a few Kings on that team…it was an eye opening experience to travel to Russia (19 days there) when it was still under communist rule…we won the Bronze and enjoyed an experience I will never forget….

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Gene said:
Jim, why do you think Brian Boyle was such a disappointment this past year under Terry Murray? He seemed to thrive under Marc Crawford and had such an upside. This year, he was never placed into a 4th line role and almost doomed from the start. Boyle became a completely different player in less than a season, almost a shell of his previous self. Any thoughts?

Gene:
…First of all, I don’t think that a coach’s decision had much to do with Boyle’s circumstances…I think the progression of the team had more to do with it than coaches…2 years ago the Kings were still in the “middle” of a rebuild…last year, more positive signs were starting to show…a clearer definition of where Boyle fit with the Kings became apparent and he did not adjust to that situation…I think he still has a chance to be an effective NHL player, although he will have to do it in the next year or so or he will be too “old” to get started…

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Winsomemore said:
Other than the Kings, in the last 10 years who was/is your favorite NHL team?

Winsomemore:
…I am a front runner…the Red Wings have been so successful that they would be at the top of my list…it has a lot to do with how they play…up tempo, puck possession, with a high priority put on skill…tough to play against but always fun to watch…

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josh e. said:
Jimmy, when is the lucky jacket coming back???

Josh:
…As I have mentioned before…it is not my decision…the power of the jacket will tell me it is time again…currently it is residing in my closet, on loan from a friend…it looks great, even on a hanger…

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Mudfish4 said:
Jim,
Thanks for so many years of great broadcasts!
What effect does a players tape job have on their shot/stickhandling?
Seems like a lot of today’s offensive guys are going to the front half taped including around the tip of the toe, whereas a lot of checkers and d-men have the more traditional middle style.(heel and toe untaped)
Does it have anything to do with their style/position or simply just personal preference?
What was the story behind Tomas Sandstrom’s tape job. (or lack of it)
Thanks again for taking the time to do this!
Bobby?Murrieta, CA

Mudfish4:
…It has been my pleasure…thanks for the kind words…
…I know there is a “physics” issue with the ridges in the tape…some use it to just help keep ice from building up on the blade…some use it as contrast to see the puck better (white tape/black puck)…some use it to hide the puck from the goalie (black tape/black puck)…bottom line…it’s all about the individual and the feel…
….Your right with Sandstrom…not much going on there…my favorite player of all time had only a couple of stands on the blade, if that…it didn’t slow Bobby Orr down too much…
…Thanks again!

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kings4queens said:
Foxy, you are the best!!
DL has been quite vocal about the idea that Kopi needs to get in better physical shape this season. Do you agree and do you think he would naturally do it to improve anyway?
How do you think Doughty is taking all of the attention that he has gotten, being singled out as such a young player with “defensive vision”? Does all of the attention actually hurt of help him?
Is Frolov just too immature to stay on the team? I love his skills, but I met him in person and he seemed like a 15 year old.

Kings4queens:
…thanks for the kind words…wow…
…I agree with DL…no doubt Kopitar is a solid player…but now the Kings look like they are ready to go to another level…if that’s the case you need a strong #1 center who plays both ends and give attention to both ends…I have mentioned it before…Kopitar has usually been the offensive star on his previous teams so he could expend all of his energy on the offensive side of the game…now he needs to do more…he needs to have extra energy to be available to play 22-25 strong 2-way minutes each night if he wants to take the next step himself…good player…but if he wants to get better the commitment to better fitness is a must…it will be the difference between being very good and great…
…I think Drew is one of those “kids” who just loves that game and he doesn’t put much thought into the off-ice attention as much as other players…as a person, and I don’t know him that well personally, I think he is still as kid…on the ice he is a man…
…I’m not sure if immature is the right word…it is always more difficult to get a read on a person’s personality when they are not in their own culture and speaking a second language…one area he does need to be more mature is in the fitness area…similar to Kopitar…he is a good player…maybe better than that, but he needs to be there every night…more commitment off the ice will lead to more production on the ice…

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Paul from Oxnard said:
Hi Jim & thanks for doing this again. Do you believe the Kings have done enough this offseason to at least make the playoffs, if not make a decent run? That’s assuming they get Jack Johnson signed as their last “major” transaction of the summer.

Paul:
…My pleasure…
…Still think there might be at least one more “veteran” signing…I don’t think there is much doubt that the roster is better…they hung in there a while last year and I expect them to be closer to and in a playoff position this year…since the core is still young, I think it is just as important for the core guys to keep getting better and more “Hockey mature” for the Kings to have the success they want…the pieces added were fine…but the pieces before the additions have to get better too…if we were talking about an older roster then I think the read would be easier…still and very young team, but so was Chicago and they took huge steps last year…

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Jammer06 said:
Jim,
Thanks for all the years of good work with Bob. Having worked with each other for so long do you find yourselves still preparing for games/seasons the same way? Do you ever have to get together in the offseason to practice? Are there production people that have been with you guys that we don’t know about that have been around just as long??Just very curious about the process going into a season since I don’t imagine you guys take off from the last game and shake hands again at the first game.
Thanks again!

Jammer06:
…Thanks so much for the kind words…
…Having worked with Bob for so long it certainly helps to understand where we are going…but, each year I make a few changes to my preparation, starting with the info I compile for my “cheat sheet” each game…also, depending on the make-up of the team, I will focus on different areas each year…another thing, as expectations increase, I will change/adjust how I cover the team…
…I see Bob a few times during the off-season but we never talk much hockey and never really “practice” anything…I mostly see him in “social” settings…
…Our director Mike Hassan has been with us for over 10 years…we will have a new producer this year so that will take time to adjust to…just a general breakdown of the roles…the producer is in charge of the overall “theme/style” for each broadcast (he or she is the boss)…the director’s job is to get the producer the “shots” that accomplish the goal of capturing that theme/style…I can tell you…during a live broadcast, so much is going on behind the scenes…I think you would be impressed to see how everyone works together…PxP, color, producer, director, stage managers, ice-level reporters, hosts, camera people, video tape operators…to be honest, when I first started, I really didn’t understand what it took to get everyone together…now I understand that I work with some of the most talented people in the business…

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  • Cynic

    Jim-

    I just spoke with Juraj Mikus (The guy you borrowed the Technicolor Dreamcoat from) and he told me the jacket told him for you to wear him Opening night, Sat Oct. 3rd against the Yotes. Need to start the season with a win and have the Juraj Mikus Karma in the building that night.

    If you’re not familiar with the Legacy of Juraj Mikus, simply scroll back a few posts and enjoy.

    I met you a few times at HealthSouth when I was organizing roller hockey games for LGK years back. Thanks for being so approachable and great to talk to. You make up a nice part of the legacy of this team. As a player AND a broadcaster. Not many (If any) can fit that bill. Nice work!

    Question for you: What did you think of the play of Drewiskie coming up at the end of last season? (I thought he was VERY poised and solid). Do you see there being a battle for a roster spot between Drewiskie and Harrold? Or do you think Harrold take more of a forward role this year away from another 4th liner if Drewiskie claims his D spot? Thanks!

  • stu

    Jim,

    1. When you first started doing television, did you find it hard giving criticism to some of your old teammates?
    2. It seems like most of the current Kings fans are from the Gretzky era and after. Do you ever feel like the teams you played on or the players you played with, don’t get the credit they deserve?
    3. Why did it seem like Larry Murphy was always falling down?
    4. Man, I miss the Pumper-Nicholl.

    Thanks to you, Bob, Bernie, Marcel, Charlie, J.P.,
    Dave, Dan Bonner, Jerry Korab and so many other great Kings, for the memories.

  • KeeptheFaith

    Jim, thanks for the time. What players do you think would make a good fit for left wing on the 3rd and 4th lines? Please include current roster and some prospects you think might work out. Also, how difficult is it for a right shot/winger to play on the left side? Is there any right shot/winger on the Kings you feel can play left wing? Thanks.

  • fan b4 gretzky

    Last night I watched the Kings Flames replay of the 1990 playoff double overtime game I had no idea about this being played on prime ticket. Can You or Mr fox please post a schedule for these games as they are supposed to air once a week on Tuesday nights.

  • Winsomemore

    Jim, Thanks for taking the time to do all this. Don’t always agree with you, or anybody else for that matter, but your answers are informative,educational and entertaining. Thanks again.

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